THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE FOR STARTING A CLOTHING LINE--17 steps to success
Is clothing a passion for you? Interested in creating a clothing brand of your own? Do you dream of owning a business from home as the pandemic has begun to disrupt all aspects of our professional and social lives?
Your nodding speaks volumes about your desire to start your own fashion line! You are undoubtedly at the right place!
When you start your own clothing line and begin to see it sported by members of the public, it is a huge accomplishment for your business.
In addition, when it comes to starting your own clothing line, there is a lot to be done, particularly if you are doing it for the first time.
Fashion designing is neither an easy nor straightforward task; it requires business knowledge and creativity. If these skills aren’t already in your repertoire, they can be learned.
To start a clothing line, there is a definitive guide. Throughout this article, we’ll outline 17 steps for starting a clothing line.
The shortcuts can be found below. You can just click the title to jump to the step you want to learn.
In this article, we will go over everything you need to consider when starting a fashion line.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: PERFORMING MARKET RESEARCH
The apparel industry is a relatively new field for you as a new entrant. To get off to a successful start, market research is a key step.
As Bloomberg reports, about eight out of ten aspiring small business owners fail within 18 months. The failure rate is shockingly high at 80%.
Thankfully, there are steps you can undertake to avoid being a part of that statistic. First, it is crucial to conduct elaborate market research to understand your niche.
If this sounds like mumbo-jumbo to you, we are here to guide you. Using these steps will make certain you are among the 20% of companies that conduct market research successfully.
Performing a SWOT analysis
This is a simple construct and entails what you should know when creating a clothing line – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
First, you gain your competitive advantage through your strengths. Then, as a company, you are bound to have certain weaknesses that are your disadvantages compared to your competition.
The third aspect you must determine is threats, which could jeopardize the success of your business. You must also identify your opportunities that may enable your company to succeed if leveraged successfully.
By using these four constructs, establish the current position of your company and where it might go. An overview of the market can be obtained through market research.
Research your competitor
After using a magnifying glass on your company, the second step of market research entails analyzing companies whose products, marketing strategies, and branding you admire, and who share target markets with you.
If you want to decide whether you can share profits in your target market with your competitors, you should find out everything you can about them.
Keeping tabs on your competitors is imperative. It would be beneficial for you to spend some time studying their customer engagement strategy.
What is their customer value proposition? Because, at the end of the day, a garment’s significance is usually derived from something much deeper.
Tools for your research
If you are already feeling overwhelmed at this stage, the good news is that doing this research does not require special skills or resources: simply accessing websites and social media profiles will allow you to gather valuable customer data and marketing insights, as well as an idea of your competitors’ strategies.
For further information, you can consult the following sources.
- White papers and reports on industry and market research
- Sites related to fashion
- Keyword, SEO, and trend research
- Statistic about government
- Websites and other digital properties of your competitors, such as their apps, mobile websites, and ads.
Step 2: SELECTING A BUSINESS MODEL
Now, the research has been completed. What is the next step? Essentially, you should think about the kind of clothes you are going to offer once you have finished your research.
In the apparel business, there are a set of clothing business models already in place to make business owners’ life much easier. According to your current circumstance, you may choose the one you prefer.
Print-on-demand is a business model that allows you to create designs and marketing materials that can be sold directly to consumers. Essentially, you offer specific designs to your customers, and your orders are fulfilled by the print-on-demand company.
In the case of speedy production items, like graphic tees, using this option will help ensure you don’t accumulate an inventory of finished goods that won’t be sold. Upon placing an order, your customers will receive their clothes covered in their custom patterns or prints.
The only disadvantage to this business model is its low profits since the third party who fulfills your orders is split with your profits.
Let us quickly assess this model.
Pros of printing on demand
Drawbacks of the print-on-demand business model
Starting a custom wholesale clothing business is much easier if you buy pre-made wholesale clothing and then handcraft it for each individual customer.
Even if it is contemporary or vintage, wholesale clothing will always make you stand out. Any way you want, you can enhance garments with print, embroidery, applique, or any other decoration.
This model requires both time and money. You should purchase the garments up front and pay for materials and labor when customizing them.
Fulfilling orders and maintaining stock both play a role. Because you will not pay any third parties, you will still be able to take home more profits than you would if you used the print-on-demand method.
Business model advantages of custom wholesale
Cons of wholesale custom business models
Cut-and-Sew and Private Label
If you would like to design and manufacture your own clothing lines according to the specifications that you specify, this is the ideal business model.
It is actually this model that is often referred to when people consider starting a clothing line. You will discover how you can utilize this business model to develop your own clothing label.
You must consider a number of factors. What will be your first collection approach? What is your plan for selecting fabrics? Do you have a particular kind of garment in mind?
Is it more convenient for you to sew each piece yourself or to have the job done by a manufacturer? A fashion line announcement is done this way. Your brand’s identity needs to be captured in it.
Once the right processes are in place, you can easily scale this type of clothing line and keep full creative control.
Pros of operating with a cut-and-sew method and a private label
- You design your own clothing – 100% custom
- Customers perceive unique clothing as more valuable
- Especially if you sell unique clothing items, you’ll have more margins because of less competition.
The drawbacks of cut-and-sew and private labeling
- Exorbitant startup fees
- There are many moving parts which must be handled by you or by your team.
- Preparation and launch take many months
If you want to sell items that are made-to-order, a couture clothing line may be the greatest choice. Dresses for special events, tuxedos, prom suits, wedding gowns, and specially designed bespoke sections are examples of the many custom-made styles available.
Fashion becomes to a great extent risky by this business model. Tailor-made garments cater to the individual needs of each client.
In order to achieve this level of detail, there is a lot of time and labor involved. As a result, every item will have a very high price – one that is only accessible to the very wealthy. There will be fewer potential customers for you.
The impact of your designs catching the attention of wealthy clients would result in an important boost to your business.
The advantages of custom couture
- A product that is 100% custom
- Wealthy customers perceive high value
- The largest margins
The advantages of custom couture
- More limited target market
- Requires strong branding
- Establishing oneself as a couture designer can take years
The advantages of dropshipping include sourcing products from sellers that align with your brand rather than manufacturing them yourself.
This is a low-cost service with low overhead because inventory does not need to be manufactured, stored, or managed. Customers place orders with third-party sellers and they are shipped directly to them.
Integrate your website with a dropshipping company, find the products you want, and get started with dropshipping right away. The disadvantage of dropshipping is that it does not allow you to control your products.
The advantages of dropshipping
- Start a business on a low budget
- No inventory pressure
- Shipping is easy
The disadvantages of dropshipping
- Lack of control over the product
- Small margins
- Lack of brand recognition
- Customer churn can be high
Step 3: FORMULATING YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Now, after market research and determining your business model, the next step involves crafting a formal plan.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting endeavor. With so many ideas, you might experience a temptation to complete your plan quickly to get to the fun bits.
Business plans aren’t something you write down and then forget about once you’re set up. You will refer to it frequently so that you make sure you hit your goals and that the cool ideas you come up with at the start are implemented to the fullest.
You must determine the manner in which your clothing line will be managed before making your own clothing line business plan. Your aim should be to convey this in the most realistic way possible.
A business plan is a roadmap for your company. A structured goal-setting process can help streamline your future plans.
There are generally common sections in every business plan, regardless of format. Here’s how to create a business plan that’s easy to use. Provide the following information:
Executive summary – Your executive summary outlines your company’s mission statement, future plans, and it serves as an investor prospectus. This process is critical for clothing lines since they often need outside funding.
Company description. By giving a description of your clothing line, you can give people a good idea of what your style is, what sets it apart from the competition, and what markets you plan to enter.
Products and services. Outline the most important features of your products or services. Patent filings and copyrights will also be included. If you conduct market research for your products, you will see the results here.
Marketing plan. You should include a section here discussing your brand identity, business model, and marketing plans for your clothing line.
Operational plan. An operational plan should include information about your company’s daily operations. These are just some of the matters to consider while selecting a location, hiring personnel, developing the legal environment, and ensuring quality.
Management and organization. It’s important to explain your company’s structure in this section. When you first start your clothing line, you may be the only stakeholder, but as your line grows, you might need to work with more stakeholders.
Logistics plan. The process by which raw materials are transformed into products and delivered to customers. The type of shipping your business uses must be considered. What is the most efficient way to accomplish this?
Financial plan. Describe how you plan to sustain your business financially. Start-up costs and financing options, as well as the length of time it will take you to generate profits, should be considered.
Appendices. If you are launching a new clothing business, be sure to include all other information that will help you to construct a complete picture. Ensure that you include all additional business documents including contracts, licenses, and insurance.
Step 4: DETERMINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Being self-employed requires guts and determination. You probably have a unique approach to this fast-paced industry. Maybe you have an idea based on a market gap, or something you design is unique to a certain group of customers.
Starting a business requires identifying a niche and understanding your audience. Your goal should be defined from the beginning, irrespective of your motivation.
Do you want to start a business making fitness clothing or sports clothing, for example? A particular item might have a following, like Fred Perry shirts.
Maybe you’re thinking about the style of childrenswear Scandiborn creates or the style of clothing for men that reflects your heritage?
Stay focused on your niche.
A sense of continuity, a sense of direction, and a sense of legacy are provided by the original idea, no matter how many designs you introduce over time or how far you branch out. Your niche needs to be narrowed down and segments created.
Which clothing niche and target market are most suitable for you? Here are some questions to consider:
- What types of apparel and clothing products are you looking to produce?
- Who will buy my products?
- How will my brand or product give them specific value?
- What sets my product apart?
- Who is my competition?
You will gain a better understanding of what your clothing line is all about after answering each question. Create your own buyer persona by using the following customer demographic checklist:
Step 5: DEVELOPING A SUCCESSFUL CLOTHING BRAND
It is your brand that is essential to the success of your business. Since your brand is the summation of all that you do, it should convey your company’s story in an irresistible manner.
Over time, building recognition for your clothing line can make it more desirable, as your brand grows in recognition.
Identifying your values is the first step to establishing your brand. A brand’s values can be practical and intrinsic, such as ‘durability,’ in addition to social and activist values.
When you run a clothing business, all the factors need to fit well together in order for your brand to be strong and cohesive so your customers will love it and continue to purchase from you.
How is a brand built successfully? How can you create an identity for your brand? Fluky clothing brands have a number of elements, including:
Clothing brands often utilize their brand names as powerful selling points on their own, even if they are not “high-end brands.”
Apart from having meaningful brand names, clothing brands can also maintain mission-based associations that differentiate them from their competitors, such as ethical sourcing and quality materials.
Developing brand loyalty and recognition will be important for your business.
What are the best ways to express your brand’s values through its symbol?
If you want to make them stand out, they need to be unique and simple. And no matter what size they are, they need to be noticeable.
Determine the colors of your website and marketing materials. A deep blue, for instance, can signal trustworthiness consistently.
Tone of voice
Use the right words and your manner of speaking to establish the story of your brand.
Have you created a product that you want to sell? Who are you targeting? The quality of lower-quality items may make them more accessible to different markets than premium items. The market you target for all of your products should be the same.
Products cost more when they are made with better materials, costlier manufacturing processes, and targeted at a larger audience.
Set your prices within a reasonable range. Prices will be higher for items in high demand or that are of higher quality.
Brand design & style
Make yourself stand out from the crowd. All marketing campaigns, advertising, and packaging should have a consistent look and feel. What matters is your style.
The positioning of your brand around these (and other factors) will make you stand out.
Step 6: GET YOUR BUSINESS REGISTERED
There is a common mistake made by designers: deciding to become entrepreneurs and leaving it at that. Registering early in the process is recommended for a few reasons.
Your confidence is boosted, and you feel more legitimate. It cannot be overstated how important that is.
Additionally, once you obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number), you will be considered a legitimate business entity.
To begin your clothing line’s actual production, you must complete all the necessary paperwork.
You’ll want to accomplish these tasks as a result:
Choose a business entity type
The first step would be to select the type of business entity you want, whether it’s a sole proprietorship, LLC, S-corporation, etc.
Each type has its strengths and weaknesses, so you should examine which best suits your needs.
Starting a small business as a sole proprietor is an excellent solution. It can later be converted into a corporation or LLC.
Register your business
Depending on the type of entity you choose, your business might need to file an application with the state in which it operates.
It is still important to register your business, even if your state does not require it.
Get business licenses and permits
If you plan on opening a clothesline, you will likely need a general business license.
If you’re planning on selling your clothing line from home online, you may need to obtain certain permits. These include a sales tax license and a home occupation permit.
If necessary, contact your state and local government agencies for permits and licenses.
Get an employer identification number
Registering and paying taxes are an integral part of starting a clothing line. To get an EIN, therefore, you should contact the IRS.
Even though an EIN is not required for every business, having one can allow you to file tax returns, open a bank account for your business, in addition to obtaining business financing.
Here are more resources to help you complete Step 6. Search Google for “register a business (country name)” if your country is not listed:
- Register for your EIN (U.S. based)
- In Canada: Business Registration Online – Get a Business Number, Overview of all business topics, and Registering with the government
- In Australia: Register for ASB, Register your business name and Register your company
- In the UK: Apply for a National Insurance Number, Business and self-employed info, and Setting up a business (includes setting up a business for taxes)
- In Europe: Here are the top tips for setting up a business in Europe.
- In Nigeria: Register with CAC
Step 7: DIFFERENTIATE YOUR CLOTHING LINE
Now, you have your plan, business model, and permits ready. But how exactly are you different from the million other companies operating in this field?
Designing and manufacturing clothing and apparel has become one of the most saturated industries.
The only way to effectively compete in the market is by creating a point of differentiation that makes you stand out from your competition.
You can distinguish yourself from the crowd in multiple ways…
It’s important to take the time to carefully select the graphics and images in your clothing designs (like graphics and images) if you intend to print these on the clothing.
If you plan to design your own clothing from scratch, you need to distinguish yourself from your competition.
The story behind a brand’s product is much more likely to be relatable to people who will purchase that brand’s product.
A brand that has a strong market presence can also claim a higher price point when the quality of the product is the same as cheaper or less well-known brands.
You can put your company’s differentiating point in your niche and target market (if it’s underserved and well defined)
Clothing pieces are differentiated by the type of material used.
The performance of your products (whether they are comfortable, itchy, restricting, warm, light, airy, do they wrinkle easily, etc.) and their quality (including any seams, buttons, the weight of the fabric, etc.) influence your customers’ satisfaction.
Step 8: DESIGNING THE CLOTHES FOR YOUR LINE
Your brand identity will also be reflected in your clothing collection. Consider color choices, shapes, and textures when designing your own clothing line.
Using your designs, create prototypes. You can also do this in your bedroom alone with only your sewing machine if you get assistance from a designer or manufacturer.
If you are creating the prototype yourself, you may want to provide the manufacturer with the tech pack. It is essentially a design blueprint, which includes information about the fabric, measurements, stitching, labeling, and packaging of your design.
Even if you aren’t a designer, a prototype is typically included in the cost of a manufacturer’s product. MMS clothing is a company that can provide such services.
The development of this step can speed up production and eliminate many mistakes along the way.
So, even if you are a designer, it is recommended to opt for this service. You can check out their service to understand how it works.
Seeing how the product feels before committing to an order of large quantities gives you a chance to see and feel its quality.
Furthermore, this will allow you to assess a manufacturer’s speed and ability to adhere to design instructions so that you will know if you are working with the right manufacturer.
If you create anything, make sure it’s something you love. You should ensure that your creation is satisfactory before you order large amounts of anything. This encompasses everything, from the packaging that your scarf will come into the scarf itself.
It would be best if you checked the quality yourself. You can wash clothes multiple times and wear them to check if they stretch, fade, fray, or bleed. The reputation of your brand is at stake, so you can never be too sure.
To ensure the consistently high quality of your product, ensure that it meets the high standards you expect. Once you feel confident, you can order your inventory.
Prepare your collection in line with the season. The designs of collections are usually based on the seasons. A majority of department stores purchase two seasons in advance, while smaller stores usually purchase one-two season in advance.
To ensure timely production, delivery, and design, you will need to plan ahead.
Step 9: LEARN FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
As soon as you know what kind of clothes you want to make, you can calculate their price and how much capital you will need to get started.
Costing line items will include fabrics and finishings, as well as packaging. You should always ask your suppliers for quantity discounts on orders when you produce products.
Establishing a pricing structure
One of the most important aspects of your clothing line will be its price, so it is important to pick a price that you are comfortable with.
Your clothing brand must generate a profit greater than fixed and variable expenses. Fixed costs include the purchase of new equipment or the lease of office space.
The manufacturing costs of different products are variable and vary from one line to another, which is a variable cost.
Calculate your cost per unit before determining your pricing structure. To help you determine this, consider these factors:
- Costs associated with garment manufacturing
- Tax on imports
- Marketing Materials
The first step in determining your total profitability is determining the cost of your products.
You should consider both the perceived value of your clothing and your brand’s image when deciding your price point for your clothing business.
A profit margin of between 30% and 50% is typically considered good for a clothing business.
To make a sound decision, you need to do your homework first.
Knowing your expenses before you begin developing your business plan will help you be prepared when you begin seeking funding.
Starting your own clothing line or online clothing business will require some investment. However, the payoff will be undeniable.
The following are common costs associated with starting a clothing line:
Design: Costs that relate to design include the costs of hiring a third-party designer, purchase of design software, and the materials to create your designs.
Manufacturing: While some clothing lines select their own materials and manufacture their own prototypes, the majority hire manufacturers who create prototypes before manufacturing the final products. In most cases, raw materials are included in a manufacturer’s manufacturing price. If you place a large order with a manufacturer, the price per unit will be lower.
Each design has a set cost. A small business with limited inventory space and a tight budget may not have a good option in this instance.
Inventory storage and management: If you don’t dropship, you will be expected to maintain a large inventory. Storage space (including manned warehouses) will be needed when your business expands.
Packaging: Branding clothing stores and creating an enjoyable unboxing experience are often achieved through custom packaging. In addition to paper and tape, boxes are also available for branding. The price tag and branding for your products are also important considerations.
Shipping: You will need to determine the cost of delivering inventory to your customers and for sending it to your warehouse. Make sure the customer is charged correctly to avoid losing profit margins.
Legal contracts: Some companies have legal agreements with manufacturers, marketing firms, or rental companies. Legal fees should be accounted for before signing these contracts, since they should be reviewed by an attorney first.
Necessary licenses and permits: Depending on where your business is located, you might need to obtain business licenses and permits. You will need to meet these requirements depending on your state if you live in the USA. Ascertain which licenses you should obtain in your state and the requirements therefor.
Website: You will need a domain name and a site host, and using a platform that gives you strong eCommerce features like Wix can make the process more seamless. Hire a professional photographer, invest in a good camera, and invest in lighting so that your products look good. In addition to the cost of designing your website, hiring someone to perform SEO, or writing your content, you should also account for the cost of hiring someone.
Marketing: Choose the kind of advertising, referrals, affiliate payments, sponsored posts, and other marketing tactics you’ll use to promote your brand.
Taxes: Taxes are a part of every business. To determine how much you should set aside and how often you should pay, you could consult a qualified accountant. In some instances, quarterly payment is needed instead of annual payment according to the business structure.
Step 10: FIND OUT HOW YOUR CLOTHING LINE IS DEVELOPED
For those entering the fashion industry for the first time, it’s important to recognize that this is a huge step in starting and sustaining a cut-and-sew clothing business.
An excellent option at this point is to consider partnering with a company that knows what it’s all about and how it should be done properly.
The clothing line’s production partners such as pattern makers, tech pack creators, design partners, materials partners, and production partners are highly experienced professionals that are responsible for making your clothing line a reality in the most efficient way.
The process of designing a pattern and putting together a tech pack can be a nightmare, particularly if you do not work with a professional pattern maker.
If you conduct research on the manufacturer before purchasing, you may find it very helpful.
There are manufacturers who offer professional product development services, manufacturers who will only manufacture a product if they have created the product themselves, and manufacturers who do not provide these services but prefer working with partners.
The manufacturer’s website will have all the necessary information, as well as contact information.
The product development process is consistent for whatever type of clothing you are developing. The next step is to discuss mass production after we discuss sampling.
Process for sample
Step 1 Designs: Each design is usually sketched out at the start either on paper or digitally. Concept sketches can be a great starting point, but when you need digital sketches, you need to apply programs like Illustrator.
Step 2 Tech Pack: A tech pack is essentially a blueprint for your apparel product, providing a manufacturer with all the details and technical specifications for production. This includes the designs, measurements, materials, and any accessories (zipper, buttons, ) your brand label, hangtag, wash label, embroidery, printing, etc. you can check our tech pack services.
Step 3 Fabric sourcing: After receiving your tech pack for your clothing, the manufacturer will identify fabrics and other accessories. Fabric can be provided directly to the factory, so that the fabric matches your exact specifications.
Step 4 Pattern Making: This is the process of creating a prototype of a product out of a technical drawing. An experienced pattern maker will design your clothing in this process. As it determines whether your clothes will fit properly, whether they are comfortable to wear, etc.
Step 5 Making samples: Each manufacturer makes a small sample or test batch before a large batch of products is produced. Identifying improvements and evaluating the samples allows you to test the concept.
You must make some modifications after you feel the samples in person; making clothing is definitely not something that can be achieved at once. The perfect sample will come to you after some patience.
Process for mass production
Once you are satisfied with your results, you may scale up your samples. Bulk orders can now be placed. Normally, the process consists of the following steps:
Step 1: Negotiate a contract with your supplier. Prices and payment methods are included as well as turnaround time.
Step 2: Get confirmation of the pre-production sample. Before the bulk goods are made, you will receive a pre-production sample from the manufacturer. This step still allows for adjustments. It is very important that you carefully examine it.
Step 3 Grading: One way of altering apparel is to make it smaller or larger to accommodate different sizes. Your size requirements will guide the factory for grading the quantity of clothing you require.
Step 4 Production: The clothing manufacturer starts the production processes once you have given them all the details. In most cases, it takes between 20 and 40 days for your order to be processed, depending on the quantity and style.
To be successful in this process, every step must be tracked in communication with the factory, and details about the current process must be obtained.
Step 11: REACH OUT TO MANUFACTURERS OF CLOTHES
We recommend choosing a brand production company based on the vision and goals you have for your business. A reliable manufacturer is imperative for the success of your clothing line.
The quality of your product, maintaining the quality, and remaining true to the concept of your item cannot be compromised if your manufacturer cannot deliver it to your specifications and maintain the quality.
Are you aware of the best way to locate a clothing manufacturer? My point is not the best manufacturer for everyone, but the “right manufacturer”. It is only possible to find the best manufacturers for you.
Due to the unique requirements of each buyer, this is the case. All manufacturers have their own positioning. The following methods can be used to locate the clothing manufacturer:
- Search online: GOOGLE, Yahoo, Bing.
- Alibaba: a Chinese online website
- Exhibition:go visit some relevant exhibitions to learn more about clothing manufacture.
In choosing a manufacturer, you need to take certain factors into consideration. For example:
Whether it's legit or not
This is a crucial consideration if you wish to locate a factory abroad. Check with the local authority to ensure they’re legit to prevent being defrauded.
Clothing is made by different manufacturers. Their strengths are different, therefore. Several of them specialize in t-shirts, hoodies, etc. Some people specialize in high-fashion clothing. You should select the manufacturer who can fulfill your requirements.
Factory registration can only confirm the existence of factories, but cannot verify they are in normal operation. Follow their social media accounts, talk with the employee, ask about their company, and if the conditions permit, you can visit their factory.
Manufacturers often set minimum order quantities (MOQs) when creating new designs in clothing production. Especially for newcomers who work in the fashion industry, the burden of inventory is difficult to bear. Choose manufacturers who are open to working with start-up companies with low MOQ.
A manufacturer’s price point must align with the resources of your business. Obtain the best price by comparing multiple manufacturers.
Quality of their product
Find a manufacturer who can supply you with a product that meets your needs, and whose quality is the best. Request that they send pictures of products before ordering. It gives you a chance to see how they work.
MMS clothing clearly outlines the various services that it renders on its website, Inquire about the factory’s services. Finding a company that covers everything from scratch right up to delivery is very helpful in saving you time and energy.
When developing a timeline for your project, it is important that you work with your manufacturer. You might have to arrange a mutually beneficial agreement at this stage due to the urgency of the launch, but a mutually beneficial agreement will keep both parties on track.
Your process will be streamlined and your clothing will be more practical with great communication. The idea is to use it to bridge the gap between reality and the mind. Make sure you can easily communicate with clothing manufacturers abroad if you’re seeking them out.
Ensure that the manufacturer can fulfill your shipping needs. Which is more important to you, shipping speed or cost? What would you prefer: air, train, or ship?
Step 12: PRICE YOUR MERCHANDISE
A smart pricing strategy starts by knowing your cost-per-unit — commonly referred to as CPU — so you can build an effective pricing strategy. Here is how Bond Street explains CPU:
Most businesses in the apparel world use a cost-based pricing strategy, in which the final cost to the consumer ultimately comes from the cost of producing that product.
CPUs represent just the beginning. In setting your clothing prices, consider your operating costs (as well as some profit). It is impossible for your business to survive otherwise.
Owning your own store or making your label known internationally may be on your bucket list. Those who wish to expand and scale their apparel businesses will need to have a price structure they can maintain for both retail and wholesale.
Entrepreneur magazine’s Toby Nwazor suggests that you set prices 30% – 50% higher than your expenses to ensure a profit. Your business’ success depends on profit.
The more the merrier. After you’ve completed the math, you have to consider competitor pricing and perceived value. When choosing a price point you will have to consider these factors and appeal to your target market at the same time.
Clothes shopping has more to do than just clothes. Additionally, you are competing with others.
All of the price information about the clothing that they sell is available to them. Whether they are doing this unconsciously or consciously, they are gathering data for the purpose of deciding what you should charge.
Therefore, it is essential you are aware of your target market, your sales channels, and the fees your competitors charge.
Perhaps you would like to charge a lower price, or maybe your clothing line is more valuable. Feeling that way is okay.
Your profitability may be hampered if you don’t know what your competitors charge, since charging too little will eat into your profit.
In perception, a customer evaluates a product based on what they believe it is worth. Price perception is also affected by what your competitors are charging. This is only part of the story.
Appearance matters when it comes to clothing. An inexpensive shirt that looks fancy may be perceived to be more valuable than a simple shirt finely crafted. People are often surprised to learn that garments take a lot of money, time, and effort to make.
Branding your product can also impact its perception.
An affordable brand will appear more valuable than a premium one.
Consider both your fashion brand and your competitors when developing a pricing strategy for your clothing line.
Step 13: PROMOTE YOUR CLOTHING LINE
Your business needs to be marketed now. In order for customers to buy from you, they must see that you exist.
The following methods can help you market your clothes business online:
Search engine optimization (SEO): Put your business on the top of Google by using SEO tools.
Organic social media marketing: Use social media to reach your audience. Creating branded profiles and curating content will help you increase brand and product awareness.
Pay-per-click ads: You can place ads on Facebook and Google to promote and capture the attention of customers.
Sell on multiple sales channels: Create an Instagram and Facebook Shop and start selling there.
In addition to eBay, Amazon and Etsy, your online store can be integrated with other marketplaces. Your online store can increase its sales by as much as 12% when you add an additional sales channel.
Influencer marketing: Try to find influencers with a direct audience that has engaged with your clothing brand and who can help you gain publicity quickly.
Brand ambassadors: Identify and attract customers. Afterward, you can ask for site reviews and recommendations
Partner with another brand: Once you’ve teamed up with another brand that offers something the audience wants, but isn’t a direct competitor, you’ll become more visible.
Content marketing: Produce resources, such as blogs or videos, help provide value to your users.
Step 14: Identify investors or partners
Saving enough capital for a startup to grow and sustain is one of the biggest challenges.
All of us would be able to fund our business ventures on our own in an ideal world. However, most people cannot handle it on their own.
An external business partner or investor can contribute significantly to the success of your venture.
You should start by giving the matter some serious consideration, just as you should with any business decision. The following are a few questions for you:
- How much should they be involved in the decision-making process?
- Do I prefer long-term or short-term relationships?
- What do I want from this partnership or investment?
Knowing what you want out of a relationship is essential. There are many kinds of investor and partner relationships.
Are you simply searching for a partner for capital investment? Alternatively, are you trying to generate leads, split costs with someone, or gain exposure and success by association with a highly regarded brand?
The best solution for your business depends on you. Before you meet with a prospective partner or investor, you should however be clear on your objectives.
The next step is to think about the kind of relationship that will enable you to achieve your relationship goals.
The standards of investment back then were angel investors and venture capitalists. Fundraising changed when crowdfunding became popular.
Consider these options…
Kickstarter and Indigogo, for instance, give users the opportunity to raise money from a crowd. It is easy to create these fundraising projects and you can raise money without giving investors or partners a hand in your business. Any promises you make to your backers, however, must be kept.
2. Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists
To raise funds for your fashion business, you can turn to angel investors and venture capitalists. Your clothing line, however, must demonstrate its financial viability to these investors.
It’s critical to come prepared to your pitch meeting with an understanding of what you need and how you’ll accomplish it. Investors don’t want to invest in someone with no knowledge of the business.
Make sure you are ready to have these investors play a larger role in your business. As investors, they are hoping to reap a return on their investment by investing in your clothing business. You should make sure that the way you run your business will generate a return on their investment.
Therefore, it is important to seek investors who share your vision and understand your business.
There are many types of business partners. Having equal interest in the success of a business is the sign of a true partnership. Making the business successful requires equal contributions of finances, resources, and labor.
As a last resort, if you do not already have a deep partnership, you can also form more casual or temporary connections with existing brands, boutiques, or retailers.
Seek out complementary brands rather than competitors that could compete with your brand. Ensure that your partnership is based on the same goals.
4. Business loans
Loans offered by businesses involve one-time payments upfront. The loan will be paid off over a predetermined period of time (with interest! ), with a set payment each month. Early payment penalties apply to some business loans.
5. Business lines of credit
These are revolving lines of credit that business owners can use as needed. As needed, you can draw on any available funds, such as a credit card, to cover the amount approved (such as $20,000.)
Drawing periods can range from five to ten years, and you will pay interest only on funds that are actively borrowed. Businesses tend to find this more appealing during the early stages since they can use only what they need without paying interest on the remainder.
6. Business credit cards
Open credit lines operate just like personal credit cards, but under your business’s name. Don’t overextend yourself here, as the interest rates are generally much higher.
Step 15: SELECT HOW YOU WOULD SELL YOUR CLOTHES
There are kinds of ways to sell your own clothing, check out the following solutions that suit you best.
Open your brick-and-mortar clothing store
The most obvious benefit of doing this is that you can see how the materials and fitting feel in person. This is still the best way to win your customers’ loyalty when it comes to some couture clothing.
Create a website
Be sure it appears very professional and demonstrates the best aspects of your line. In case a store or other merchant wants to contact you, include your contact information. A shopping cart and merchant account are both required to accept credit card payments from your website if you want to sell clothing to people.
Establish relationships with websites and blogs
It can bring attention to your brand and site.Your clothing can be sold through auction websites and arts and crafts sites that allow you to sell your clothes. Sales are driven by relationships, whether it’s word of mouth or helpful quid-pro-quo. Remember that!
Use yourself as a walking billboard
You can also use this information to design a product that people will like if you wear your own fashions and ask people’s opinions. The more suggestions you take on, the better your marketing and design will be. You won’t have to pay a dime for it. Starting out, you’ll have a hard time making money, so embrace every opportunity you have.
Step 16: ESTABLISH A SHIPMENT PLAN
You have a manufacturer, funding, business plan, and actual products. All that’s left to do is ship your garments. The cost of shipping should be considered when buying clothes in bulk in order to find the most affordable price. There is a wide variety of options available to you, however.
Depending on the country, clothing can be shipped by plane, train, boat, or truck. Yet different types of postage offer different advantages depending on the occasion and scenario.
The first information you’ll need in any case is the following
- Package weight
- Package height, width and depth
- Origin and destination country
As soon as you have obtained this information, you can choose which shipping options are best for you.
You can depend on an overseas manufacturer for help if you are not acquainted with the market, but if you are unfamiliar with it, you may want to consider the following:
A bulk shipment can be transported by air, but it is the most expensive method of transport. For a moderately-sized product range, express and economy delivery are likely to run into hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.
Express couriers usually own their own planes that operate every day from manufacturing hubs around the world, whereas economy shippers typically contract out space on other companies’ planes every week or every two weeks. The cost of air freight is based on volumetric weight since space on planes is limited.
It generally makes sense to transport shipments by sea if they are large and would be uneconomical to ship by air – a sea freight shipment is typically 4-6 times cheaper, but obviously, the transit time is significantly longer. Typical shipping times from China to the UK are six weeks.
In most cases, sea freight isn’t economical for small shipments because the space you need to rent is usually in the form of a pallet, a half container, or a full container, all of which are costly up front but very cost-effective for large shipments.
By contrast, the volumetric weight of a shipment can be less important with sea freight than it is with air freight, so a shipment of comparable size can be sent by sea for less than one sent by air.
If you deal with overseas suppliers, you should be aware of FOB, or Free On Board. In some cases, suppliers will quote FOB shipping, but be aware that this only gets your items as far as the port of origin, which means you will need to arrange delivery via courier and handle documents, licensing fees, insurance, and customs declarations along the way.
Worldwide couriers like FedEx, DHL, and UPS can facilitate door-to-door shipping of your goods with reliable, fast, and tracked delivery. However, couriers charge far more than freight because they must run their own planes and vans around the world, which has huge overheads.
However, most international courier companies offer access to door-to-door shipping services, including pick-up and timed delivery, for bulk shipments from one country to another.
A freight forwarder is a company that arranges the safe and cost-effective transportation of goods internationally on behalf of importers, exporters, or other companies. Your shipment will be picked up by the courier at one end, transported to the destination and delivered by a local domestic courier once it reaches its destination.
The process of freight forwarding involves transporting bulk items efficiently and at a reasonable cost throughout the world in a reasonably short period of time.
Step 17: KNOW IMPORT DUTIES AND CUSTOMERS FEES.
When you sell garments internationally, it is crucial that you provide your customers with accurate and complete information. Understanding the import taxes you may be charged, both as a buyer and seller is important if your clothing line is operating internationally.
In the event that you purchase your clothing from a supplier who makes the items outside of the European Union, import charges will be charged.
In order for clothing from outside the EU to be released into the country, duties and taxes must be paid. Depending on the declared value of the goods as well as the type of garment you’re importing, you will be charged a duty.
It is possible to calculate how much you might owe in advance because the destination country sets the import tax rates and publishes them online. When you place an order, your supplier will be able to provide you with information on import tax if you have any reservations about it.
You can reclaim import VAT if you are VAT registered and your supplier details your EORI number on the commercial invoice. It is possible to claim back your import VAT, even though you still need to pay it to release the goods from customs.
When you sell to customers outside of the EU, you must also be aware of any import taxes your customers may have to pay.
When exporting to international customers, it’s best to warn them that they might be subject to customs duties. You can notify your customers that they may need to pay duties when purchasing clothing from your website through the delivery section.
Because your business cannot control these charges, it is courteous to inform your customers about them before they make a purchase, so they can research them.
Time does not wait, start to create your clothing line right now!
If you are still confused about how to initiate the process, get in touch with MMS Clothing for a free consultation. The staff will acquaint you with the costs and the turnaround time for your business, so you can get started.